6:00 AM Wake up, roll over go back to sleep.
6:55 Hear TV show playing downstairs; Nick’s up.
7:07 Gabe arrives in my room; send him back to bed; it’s a little too early for him to already be awake and that means that he will be over-tired before bed, which is just a nice way of saying he will meltdown more than normal this evening if he doesn’t get more sleep.
7:15 Gabe is back in my room, this time getting himself dressed because Grandma gave him a new “Lions” shirt from her vacation; I allow him to go downstairs and mentally begin preparing for an afternoon full of meltdowns.
7:23 Matt is in my bed. I love waking to that small child. We cuddle, and talk about our dreams. He is sweet and happy. He is still my baby.
7:44 Get up; go to the bathroom to find the toilet is clogged. I decide that I am too tired to unclog it now (because apparently I must think I will have more energy later?), I can hold the pee for now, I let the dogs outside; tell Nick to turn off the TV and get on routine (starting with getting dressed); ask Gabe to get on routine too.
8:00 Monitor Gabe’s progress on routine, pack lunch, check backpack, pack teacher’s snack donation for the Teacher Appreciation Snack Bar in honor of conference week (otherwise known as the hellishly-long-early-release week) and the part of Gabe's book report that is a pumpkin made to look like Curious George; load everything into Gabe’s backpack for heavy work before we get on the bus.
8:12 Nick comes downstairs in shorts and a T-shirt; send him back upstairs for weather-appropriate clothing (preferably that matches, but not pushing my luck) and socks (which he hates, but wears).
8:22 Gabe needs to wait while I get Nick ready; go upstairs (for the upteenth time), Nick is still in shorts. Dress him myself while telling him how frustrating it is that I have to dress him like he is 3 (this doesn’t go as anticipated, and since I was hoping for a little “proof” of him being older, I am annoyed when he just lets me dress him).
8:25 I go downstairs, problem-solve the breakfast fight; Gabe eats the last bar that Nick wanted to pack for his lunch; I dig through the van for a plastic bag of snacks that I know has another bar in it. Victory! Disaster avoided.
8:30 I pound the stairs again to get Gabe’s medicine.
8:35 I get their coats on; they run to the bus and make it on time (in the pouring rain).
8:40 Matt watches the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse "Choo Choo Express" movie for the first time today; I check email.
8:48 I email all of the photos from last week's Sensory Showtime to Carrie Fannin.
9:00 I realize that I didn’t send the written portion of Gabe’s book report to school with him. I call his teacher.
9:05 I am overwhelmed, so I deiced to repost my Sensory Friendly Halloween Guide instead of writing something new; I tweet my new posting and then eat breakfast (7 “fun size” Kit Kat bars and a Diet Pepsi).
9:10 I realize that I forgot to tell Gabe’s teacher that I cannot volunteer anymore (Matt is not in school because we are waiting for the Early Intervention assessment) and that Gabriel will ride the bus home on Tuesday; I email her.
9:13 And then I email Nick’s teacher the same thing.
9:15 I go over the new book layout for my Children's Book, This is Gabriel Making Sense of School, and then email the Illustrator my critique and a reminder of how excited I am to see the 5th illustration this week!
9:41 I respond to a friend’s email request to start our Halloween celebration EARLY. Sorry, but that’s a no.
9:50 Attempt to arrange a play date for Nick on Wednesday so that he doesn’t drive Gabe crazy all week.
10:00 Call my hubby who is out of state on business; he is too busy to talk but will call back.
10:01 Matt’s movie is over, time for PB Sandwich and some fort building; a new found fave (the fort, not the PB sandwich).
11:15 Watch Handy Manny and play Halloween colored playdoh with Matt.
12:00 Clean up the kitchen; empty recycling, pick up toys, get a snack for Matthew, sweep the floors.
12:32 Decide I am getting a shower; bolt all outside doors, lock office, put another show on for Matt, rush upstairs.
12:33 In shower. Ahhhhhh, warm water my friend, how I've missed you.
12:38 Phone rings; out of the shower.
12:40 Talk with Children’s Autism Center; reschedule Gabe’s apt with Psychiatrist to January; insurance issue.
12:48 Second call coming in, they tried twice, I have to answer in case it is the school, thankfully it is not, it's my mom.
12:55 Call mom back, in my underwear still, realize the boys are going to be off the bus in 5 minutes; tell her I need to call her back.
1:05 Dress quickly; rush to greet boys at bus stop.
1:10 Boys in the house, on afternoon routine (backpacks up, hands washed, shoes away, snack).
1:12 Gabriel is upset it is a half day; can’t choose something to do, says he isn’t hungry.
1:15 Jeff calls me back, finally, ask him if I can call him later. : (
1:25 Still asking Gabriel to find something to do; dogs are running laps through the house after being outside in the rain.
1:27 Give Gabriel to the count of 10 to chose one of my three ideas; Matt helps me count much to Gabe’s displeasure.
1:27:30 Matt grabs M&Ms and begins to have a meltdown that he can’t eat them. And Gabriel is lying on the ground crying that he has to choose something to do. I let him push himself around on his back with his feet to help regulate, and then I help him up; he is yelling, throwing things and my all time fave; grunting.
1:30 Gabriel decides on coloring, but is upset there are no markers; Nick and Matt are watching Jungle Junction.
1:31 Begin dishes, load, get snack for Nick, and keep verbal reminders with Gabriel.
1:40 Gabe finishes coloring, not completing our “30 minute” activity requirement; I get him a snack and set the timer over for 30 minutes. He must stay on a single task for 30 minutes (helps with transition home if I can get him to do it).
1:45 Done with his snack/TV watching choice, after only 5 minutes and decides to go upstairs to play flashlight games, prompting the other two to need new batteries in their flashlights.
1:50 Find batteries and realize that the problem lies in the fact that two of the three NEW flashlights, less than 24 hours old, have lost the spring required to make them work. Great.
1:55 Gabriel is finally calming down, finding an activity, plays flashlights/cars/planes and other make believe things with Nick. Crossing my fingers.
2:16 Receive email from FEAT of WA saying it is a “go” on submitting an application for the Real Network’s grant offering; I am helping to edit in order to make the deadline; Nov. 1st.
2:20 Gabriel asks that I print off Halloween Coloring pages, but the printer is out of ink; I hand draw a Haunted House for him to color. Then get lunch for myself based on the fact that I haven’t eaten anything that I would personally consider food up until now; water and tuna w/crackers, and more PB for Nick and Matt.
2:45 Gabe is done with the picture and he decides it should be for his teachers; he writes their names and his on the back of the paper; only flipping out and falling to the ground once over the final letter. We pack his Book Report and Curious George book in is backpack for tomorrow.
2:50 Gabriel sits on my lap. He smells like he didn’t wipe. I force a “clean butt check” and a re-wipe. He is angry and it forces a meltdown. But his butt is clean now. He heads upstairs with the “I don’t want this shirt” and “I don’t care” about everything I say. Door slamming ensues.
3:00 Nick finds the new chapter books on the counter; he reads quietly to himself from the thickest one. Gabe and I do some pushing, pulling to get his body up a little.
3:28 Ding Dong! A package arrives via UPS; Matt’s birthday supplies; Gabe carries the box for heavy work. Dogs come inside after getting wet again; more laps.
3:34 Matt comes downstairs naked from the waist down, with a new tube of toothpaste in his hand, mumbling about brushing his teeth—fine, but he needs to wipe his butt too. Making me 2 for 3 on the day for wiping my boys’ butts.
3:37 While cleaning the strawberry toothpaste from the counter and dressing Matt, he says, “Ewww. I stepped in pee and slipped,” after he falls to the floor. “I think that was toothpaste.” “No, it was pee.” He says. “I don’t see any pee.” “There it is.” He says pointing on top of the step stool, which is obviously covered in pee. “Who did that?” “It was me, Matthew.” He says proudly tapping both hands to his chest. “No, Matt! You can’t pee on the stool, where are you supposed to pee?” I say. “In the backyard or in the toilet,” he says. “ONLY in the toilet,” I remind: Probably a waste of breath.
3:41 Downstairs where Nick and Gabe are climbing behind the couch (squishing and crawling all good sensory activity) and shooting each other with what Matthew refers to as a “Buer”, cause that’s the sound it makes “Bue, Bue, Bue”. :) It quickly goes bad.
3:45 Agree on watching a movie, The Little Vampire (old kid’s movie, PG), in my room w/popcorn. MUST USE HEAVY BLANKET.
3:57 Matt watches Choo Choo Express for the second time with popcorn, after a good toe nail clip (we do this daily; it is a sensory thing for him)
4:00 Research Children’s Book Awards that my new book, This is Gabriel Making Sense of School will qualify for, and determine if I can nominate myself! (Tentative release date of 2/1/10)
4:50 Gabriel bursts in my office to share, in unintelligible monologue, the movie up to this point, ending in “And they opened the barn and the cows fly!” Matthew and I leave the office and head to the family room to cuddle on the couch giving lots of kisses and a great deal of input.
5:22 Movie is done, meaning calm time is over. Gotta get dinner now. Nick goes upstairs to find something to do while Gabe flips out because he can’t think of anything to do. Another transition induced meltdown.
5:25 Send him to his room to regroup.
5:25 Follow him upstairs so I can stop him from eating paper and destroying his room. Recognize that he is low; have him come downstairs for heavy work/movement, he refuses.
5:30 Go upstairs and get him, ask him to help me help him (my fancy way of saying ‘cooperate’). Yelling, mean words, take him to the bathroom, turn on the shower, ask him to get undressed so he can use the shower to calm down. He says he wants to be IN HIS CLOTHES in the shower. I agree thinking “who am I to tell him that feels awful?”. Turns out he didn’t mean it and is upset his new shirt is wet. Terrific. Meltdown gets worse, take his wet clothes off, he storms to his room telling me he hates me and that I should leave the house. I tell him to stay in his room, without ruining anything more and try to relax; I need to regroup and relax myself so I can think of my next move
5:40 Gabe begins yelling “Kill Buster” to the dog. It’s going to be a long night. Especially without my husband home.
5:45 I head back upstairs to see if I can solve the problem. He is surprisingly lucid given the chaos that has just ensued. We talk about how words can hurt (especially me) and we agree that he will get jammas on and take a break upstairs with his flashlight. We hug, and I remind him of what an amazing kid he is, how good-hearted and sweet. I get a big kiss.
5:50 What was I making for dinner? As I head to the garage, I hear Gabriel upstairs crying. He can’t find his flashlight, and can’t get his mind to shift to another activity. Nick lets me know that Matt “scraped” him with his teeth. Where was I? Oh yeah, meatballs from the garage.
6:05 Get meatballs in oven, pasta sauce on the stove, Gabe comes down and asks when dinner is. I tell him 13 minutes, get a great big hug from a smiley boy, and he decides to jump on the trampoline while he watches Franklin’s Halloween show with Matt and Nick.
6:25 Time to eat—signaling the end of the day for me. Cross your fingers it goes smoothly.
6:30 As we eat dinner, and do our “High Lows” Daddy calls and participates with us on speaker phone. Fun and nuts at the same time with everyone talking over each other.
6:35 The dinner conversation turns to talking about kids being mean to Gabriel at school. He says that there is a boy that we know from last year’s class that won’t stop saying, “Open the gate, who do you hate” every time Gabe walks up. I get the feeling the kid is insinuating that he hates Gabriel, but Gabriel thinks that the kid is trying to get Gabriel to name someone that Gabriel hates. Gabe doesn't get that he is the joke in that scenario. Makes me sad. Nick has TONS OF IDEAS on how to solve this social dilemma. My favorite? Teach him “The Sign” that means, “Stop that but we’re still friends” (demonstrated in the photo above) and if that doesn’t work, use the good old standby of “Do it back to him.” Ah to be a neurotypical-know-it-all 5 year old. School is just so much easier for him.
6:47 Dinner is over and the boys are given 20 minutes warning before it is time to get in the bath. But as soon as they are gone, I hear water running.
7:00 Gabe comes back down showered, hair washed and in his underpants. He needs his back scratched. Nick finishes round two of dinner, since he can’t seem to stay at the table, and Matthew is sucking down a juice box; the 5th of the day. I realize I haven’t bought dog food, so the dogs have cut up frozen apples (that our garage fridge accidentally froze), old hot dog buns and some shredded cheese. Hoping I don’t pay for this in doggy diarrhea later.
7:30 Bath time craziness. Get everyone cleaned up (only washing “stinky parts” and skipping hair), and in pajamas.
8:00 Read Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends, which is referred to as the “Poem Book” at our house. Hungry Mungry, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Lazy Jane, and various other ones before bed. Matt reads Little People open the flap book before he joins us and insists on re-reading the PB Sandwich poem and sleeping with the book by his side.
8:10 Brush teeth; last pee, and into bed.
8:30 Rock Matthew, giving proprioceptive input through tight squeezes, hugs, and pressure against him in my lap. We sing. Sing. Sing. He asks for me to “not squeeze; hug!” and tells me that he just wants to “run, run, run” which is a great indication that he realizes his body is out of sync; we use it as a teaching moment and remind him that the feeling of “run run run” means he needs some tight squeezes. I hold him close on my lap while we sing. I am proud of how much he communicates to me about his body, and inside I smile because I am proud of Gabriel for all he has learned allowing Matthew to have a mommy that understands him.
8:35 Gabe yells, “I can’t sleep,” I yell back, “Yes you can; stop talking!”
8:45 I put Matthew in bed, but no one is asleep. Matthew refuses to stay in bed, and when I lay with him, he is won’t settle down; instead he just chats me up about Handy Manny and his Lightning McQueen birthday party. I am getting more and more frustrated.
9:00 I have hit my breaking point and I am yelling (not my proudest parenting moment). Matt wants me to lay with him, which I don’t want to do (I am tired as hell), and is being ridiculously bossy about how I should sit, not lay, upright in his bed. I leave to regroup in my room alone.
9:05 Matt comes running into my room telling me that Nicholas needs his “Candy Cane” (a small stuffed dog that he hasn’t slept with for MONTHS). I assure Matt that Nick is fine. When I am putting Matt back in bed, I say to Nick, “Tell Matt that you don’t need Candy Cane!” Nick bursts into tears insisting that he DOES need Candy Cane. Really? Can’t someone help me out here?
9:10 I end my search for Candy Cane. Tears from everyone. But that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t find the damn stuffed dog.
9:15 I give in and sit in Matt’s bed, following his instructions to a T. “Sit up Mommy!” “Like this?” “No Mommy! Not like that, lower.” “Like this?” “Perfect.” And in less than 10 minutes he is asleep.
9:30 I call my husband to let him know how resentful I am at him for being out of town. For getting to relax in a hotel room and for taking the night off from parenting and the bed time routine. I am really jealous. Not my proudest wife moment. I tell him that I should get off the phone and just go to bed, because I am tired. He agrees. I can’t stop thinking about the fact that he is gone for 3 nights this week, 3 nights next week, 3 nights the first of December and 3 nights the first of January. It makes my head spin, so I click So You Think You Can Dance off and go to sleep. I have to start all over again tomorrow and I still haven't unclogged the toilet. *sigh*